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"Dakota Resources: Trader Edward T. Latta’s 'List of Wood Sold to Boats,' 1866-1867"

Finalist for Spur Award for Best Western Short Nonfiction, 2006 PIERRE, S.D.—An article from South Dakota History, the journal of the South Dakota State Historical Society, was chosen as the runner-up for a Spur Award for Best Western Short Nonfiction. The Western Writers of America (WWA) presented the award at their annual conference in Cody, WY, on June 16. The winning article, “Trader Edward T. Latta’s ‘List of Wood Sold to Boats,’ 1866-1867,” by William E. Lass, appeared in the Summer 2005 issue of South Dakota History as a “Dakota Resources” feature. This occasional feature highlights special historical collections and documents of interest to researchers of South Dakota and Dakota Territory history. Latta’s ledger is housed in the South Dakota State Historical Society’s State archives at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. Director of Research and Publishing Nancy Koupal stated: “One of the goals of the South Dakota State Historical Society is to bring the state’s unique heritage to life for a wide range of readers. The recognition from a nationwide association such as the WWA is confirmation that the society is achieving this aim.” The designation as a Spur Award finalist is the seventh national award for South Dakota History, which has won two Spur Awards in recent years. Professional writers formed the WWA to promote the literature of the American West, establishing the Spur Awards in 1953 to recognize the best work in all categories of western writing. In his article, Lass analyzes the sales of wood to more than 40 steamboats that stopped to fuel at his outpost on Cedar Island in the Missouri River near Pierre. The author also provides background on the steamboat era on the Upper Missouri.